As Clinton Asks for Money, What She Says Remains a Mystery
By LISA LERER
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) — It was a very busy, very lucrative weekend for Hillary Clinton in the summer playground of the East Coast's moneyed elite.
She brunched with wealthy backers at a seaside estate in Nantucket, snacking on shrimp dumplings and crabcakes. A few hours later, she and her husband dined with an intimate party of thirty at a secluded Martha's Vineyard estate. And on Sunday afternoon, she joined the singer Cher at a "LGBT summer celebration" on the far reaches of Cape Cod.
By Sunday evening, Clinton had spoken to more than 2,200 campaign donors. But what she told the crowds remains a mystery.
Clinton has refused to open her fundraisers to journalists, reversing nearly a decade of greater transparency in presidential campaigns and leaving the public guessing at what she's saying to some of her most powerful supporters.
It's an approach that differs from the Democratic president she hopes to succeed. Since his 2008 campaign, President Barack Obama has allowed reporters traveling with him into the backyards and homes of wealthy donors to witness his some of his remarks.
While reporters are escorted out of Obama's events before the start of the juicier Q&A, the president's approach offers at least a limited measure of accountability that some fear may disappear when Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump moves into the White House.
"Unfortunately these things have a tendency to ratchet down," said Larry Noble, the general counsel of the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. "As the bar gets lower, it's hard to raise it again."
Clinton's campaign does release limited details about her events, naming the hosts, how many people attended and how much they gave. That's more than Trump, whose far fewer fundraisers are held entirely away from the media, with no details provided.
Even some Democrats privately acknowledge that Clinton's penchant for secrecy is a liability, given voters continued doubts about her honesty.